PEUT-ON CONCILIER RÉALITÉ ET ENJEUX ÉTHIQUES, JURIDIQUES ET SCIENTIFIQUES DANS LE PROCESSUS D’ÉVALUATION MÉDICALE DE L’INAPTITUDE DES PERSONNES ÂGÉES?
Keywords:physical persons, incapable person of full age, capacity, elderly persons, inability, capacity assessment, medical assessment, persons of full age protection regimes, autonomy, self-determination, paternalism
As Canadian society ages, physicians are often called upon to assess the capacity of elderly patients. This kind of medical assessment has ethical, social and legal dimensions that may be outside the physician’s area of expertise. The multidisciplinary nature of this process puts physicians in a difficult position as their decisions have profound consequences for patients. These considerations raise a recurrent question in health care—how can we reconcile these different disciplines for a more comprehensive assessment of a patient’s capacity? This type of multifaceted assessment requires knowledge of the complex legal notions of capacity, autonomy and self-determination. Moreover, understanding the ethical and social issues surrounding a protection regime can lead us to the solution recommended by this article—an interdisciplinary virtual system that would allow professionals from each discipline to collaborate on a medically, legally, socially and ethically appropriate decision-making process.